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Sensory exploration: How to make coloured rice

Speech therapy rainbow rice activity

Coloured rice is great for sensory play for children. You can load up your coloured rice with little toys and additional textures including plastic animals, pom poms, pasta, trucks/cars, plastic cups for pouring etc.

Try making some coloured rice at home, it is so simple and great for exploratory play with your child.


  • Plain white long grain rice (dry)
  • Food colouring of your choice
  • White vinegar
  • A drying tray (an oven tray with raised edges works well)
  • An air tight plastic container

Step one: Put one cup of long grain white rice in a plastic container (one that you don’t mind possibly getting a little discoloured from food colouring.

Step two: Add one teaspoon of white vinegar and 1-2 drops of the colour of your choice.

Step three: Put the lid on tight and shake the container. If your container is not air tight, you will need to wrap it in a plastic bag or an old towel to make sure that no liquid leaks out. Alternatively you can put all the ingredients in a snap lock bag and squish the bag to mix the colour through.

Step four: Once your colour is mixed through, spread your rice out on your drying tray (make sure it is in a thin layer (approx. 1cm) to dry. Leave your rice in a warm place until completely dry.

Step five: Repeat until you have created all the colours you want! Store in an airtight container.

Ideas for play to support speech and language skills:

Practice digging, hiding items, finding items, and pouring the rice. Remember to talk about what you are doing.

Make a big mountain in the rice, make figurines climb up.

Talk about the colours you can see.

Add plastic letters to the play to work on your child’s alphabet skills.

Add plastic animals and talk about what they are doing e.g. jumping in, hiding under, eating, rolling, running etc.

Add sea animals and make them swim through the rice.

Add diggers and make them dig in the rice.

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